The world’s most extensive work on the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), may not appear in print form ever again according to The Telegraph.
Publishers of the renowned dictionary said that the print version of the book is extremely lengthy and argued that an online version would be more economical to scholars.
They also added that the third edition of the famous dictionary, which is estimated to fill 4o volumes, is 20 years behind schedule.
The OED’s first new chief editor for 20 years, Michael Proffitt, said the dictionary is facing delays due to an “information overload” from the internet, which is slowing his compilers.
His team of 70 philologists, including lexicographers, etymologists and pronunciation experts, has been working on the latest version, known as OED3, for the past 20 years.
Proffitt revealed to Country Life magazine that the next edition will not be completed until 2034, and likely only to be offered in an online form because of its large size.
“A lot of the first principles of the OED stand firm, but how it manifests has to change, and how it reaches people has to change,” said the 48-year-old editor.
The Oxford University Press stated that a print version will only be available for sale if there is enough demand for it at that time. It will comprise of 40 volumes, which is double the length of the second edition which came out in 1989.